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What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

When you send a loved one out into the world every morning, you just take it for granted that you’ll see them come through the door again at the end of the day. You know the world is a dangerous place, but you and your family members take precautions and don’t put yourselves into risky situations. Unfortunately, some other people don’t take the same care, and that can end the feeling of security that you’ve enjoyed all these years if you get that terrible phone call.

A wrongful death occurs when someone else behaves in a negligent or reckless manner that leads to causing the death of another. Going on with life is hard after the loss of a loved one, especially with the knowledge that it could have been prevented. Depending upon the circumstances specific to each case, a wrongful death claim may be filed by a surviving spouse, child, or parent of the victim.

Filing a wrongful death claim in Atlanta or Savannah

When your family member has been killed due to someone else’s negligence, you have a right to pursue a legal claim against the wrongdoer. It can be difficult to know what your deceased family member experienced, however it will be necessary in order to fully paint the picture for the at-fault party as to what you really lost and why they should be required to compensate you.

There are many types of wrongful death cases that are commonly experienced by residents of Atlanta and Savannah. These fatalities are sudden, usually preventable, and sometimes unthinkable, including:

  • Auto accidents. Car and truck accidents happen every day on our roadways. Most occur because of reckless behaviors such as speeding, distracted driving, and impaired driving due to the use of drugs or alcohol.
  • Workplace accidents. With growth around Savannah and Atlanta, construction accidents are frequent and can be life ending. Members of road crews can be easily struck and killed by distracted drivers or equipment, and COVID-19 has put medical workers at high risk for death. A healthcare worker at Piedmont Newnan Hospital was found dead in her home in late March as a result of being infected.
  • Medical malpractice. When your loved one enters a hospital it’s to receive health care from properly trained professionals. When healthcare professionals make needless mistakes that result in death, such as misdiagnosis, failure to treat, leaving medical tools inside a surgical patient, or other errors, they should be held accountable.
  • Product liability. When a product malfunctions or otherwise causes a fatal injury, the manufacturer and others in the chain of commerce may be held liable for wrongful death.
  • Negligent Security. Property owners must anticipate that crimes, such as assaults, muggings, robberies, and stabbings, will occur on their properties. They should plan ahead by making sure the property has quality lighting, video cameras, authorized access, and even security guards. This duty to anticipate attacks is especially true for places where money is likely to exchange hands, such as ATMs, and locations where people are likely to get rowdy, such as any place that serves alcohol.

Recovery in a Georgia wrongful death suit

Georgia Code § 51-4-2 discusses the rights of family members to file and share any award received in a wrongful death action. These actions may be filed against an employer, an individual, a company, or any other entity that has wrongfully caused the death of your spouse, child, or parent.

A wrongful death case will require the review of all accident and investigative reports, along with medical bills and other financial losses associated with the victim’s life and death. All of these factors contribute various key pieces of information that help determine fault and damages that you and your family have suffered.

As stated above, part of a wrongful death lawsuit is to compensate the family for the true value of the lost loved one’s life. Because it’s a value that is assessed on factors unrelated to earnings or other monetary contributions, it can be difficult to calculate. You are also entitled to have the following elements considered in the value of your claim:

  • Loss of companionship
  • Protection
  • Parental guidance
  • Pain and suffering
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of earnings

Under Georgia’s wrongful death act, damages a valid claimant may be entitled to recover are actually categorized as the “full value of the life of the decedent without deducting for any of the necessary or personal expenses of the decedent had he lived.” Because this is a very broad definition, it may be necessary to retain experts to ascertain a proper objective value.

Harris Lowry Manton LLP has expansive knowledge in the handling of wrongful death claims. We understand the pain that you and your family are suffering and we will be there for you to lean on until the end. You deserve justice for your loved one and while money can’t replace the sense of loss you feel, it can make moving on a little easier knowing that you will have less financial strain.

When the time is right, our caring wrongful death attorneys will be here to guide you through your legal options. To schedule your free case evaluation we invite you to call our Savannah office at 912-417-3774, our Atlanta office at 404-998-8847, or reach out to us through our contact page to tell us your story.

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